FX Networks CEO John Landgraf teased the pending renewal at the company’s upfront presentation last week. The network now has ordered a 13-episode third season halfway through Season 2. “The Americans continues to be one of the best …
Aasif Mandvi is expanding his role on the new HBO half-hour comedy series The Brink. The Daily Show correspondent has a co-starring role on the show, directed by Jay Roach and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. In addition to that, he now will serve as a writer/co-producer on the series. Additionally, his memoir No Man’s Land, an account of a second-generation immigrant’s search for meaning and identity in an increasingly confusing world, will be published in October.
Related: 2014 HBO Pilots
With less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.
Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with Agent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 — word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D. Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine.
Leonard Roberts has been cast in VH1‘s Drumline 2: A New Beat, co-written by Karen Gist and Regina Hicks. The sequel to the 2002 feature Drumline feature focuses on a new set of characters at a fictional New Orleans university. The story follows Danielle (Dani) Bolton, an upper-class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend a college in Louisiana so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drumline. Roberts will reprise his role of Sean Taylor from the 2002 pic. Fox TV Studios is co-financing and looking at the project as a possible back-door pilot. Leonard, repped by Greene & Associates and Evolution Entertainment, can be seen in upcoming features Any Day and My Favorite Five.
Related: 2014 Amazon Studios Pilots
Syfy Gives 10-Episode Order To Space Opera ‘The Expanse’ From Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, Alcon Entertainment
Syfy continues to aggressively build its original slate with a 10-episode order to The Expanse, a series based on James S.A. Corey’s series of novels. The project, which received a very rich straight-to-series order in a competitive situation, is in the space opera genre in the tradition of Battlestar Galactica that Syfy brass had been looking to bring back to the network. The Expanse was put together as straight-to-series by Alcon Entertainment’s TV arm Alcon Television Group and Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Co., who developed the original pitch with Oscar-nominated writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man). This marks the first series order for ATG, which launched two years ago. Fergus and Ostby wrote the script on spec and will continue as writers and executive producers.
Related: 2014 Syfy Pilots
TNT Greenlights ‘The Librarian’ Offshoot Series Starring Rebecca Romijn; Noah Wyle Closes Deal To EP, Recur As Flynn Carsen
With all producing deals closed and a cast in place, TNT has given the green light to The Librarians, a 10-episode series follow-up to the network’s hit movie trilogy The Librarian, for a premiere in late 2014. The series will have a female lead played by Rebecca Romijn, returning to TNT where she played one of the leads in King & Maxwell. Noah Wyle, who toplined the movies, is executive producing and reprising his role in a recurring capacity because he is the star of another TNT series, Falling Skies. Romijn leads a cast that includes Christian Kane (TNT’s Leverage), Lindy Booth (Copper) and John Kim (Neighbors) as well as John Larroquette. Joining Wyle from the movies are Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin, who also will reprise their roles, with Matt Frewer (TNT’s Falling Skies) also set to recur. The series, which will be produced by the company behind the movies, Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, is part of TNT’s continued expansion into the action-adventure genre and will likely run in the network’s popcorn entertainment Sunday slot where Falling Skies airs. “The Librarian movies have been a huge success for TNT, and we jumped at the opportunity to build a series around the incredible world Dean Devlin and his creative partners created,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright.
Paramount TV Unveils First Development Slate That Includes Series Takes On ‘Narc’ & ‘Truman Show’, Firms Up Executive Team
A year after Paramount Studios signaled its re-entry in TV with the relaunch of Paramount Television, the start-up division has set its first development slate. As expected, it includes mining well-known properties from the Paramount movie library. That includes a crime drama with roots in Joe Carnahan’s Narc, with Carnahan writing and directing the pilot, and a re-imagination of the Jim Carrey hit The Truman Show. Additionally, Paramount has boarded the Terminator TV series, joining Skydance Television and Annapurna Pictures, who announced the project back in December. Paramount TV also has in the works an adaptation of hit feature Ghost with filmmakers Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner.
Other projects on Paramount TV’s inaugural slate include a drama series inspired by Caleb Carr’s best-selling novel The Alienist, with Anonymous Content (True Detective) executive producing; a limited series event based on A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer-winning biography Lindbergh; and an adaptation of Peter Moffat’s BBC series The Village with Sundance Productions and All3Media. They join previously announced mutli-project deal with Craig Brewer for original scripted dramas. “While we are just getting started, there has been a terrific amount of momentum at Paramount TV as we look to develop new ideas as well as harness some of the studio’s most iconic titles,” said Paramount TV president Amy Powell.
FX & FXX To Double Their Original Output, ‘Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With A Bang, ‘The Americans’ Nears Season 3 Renewal
FX Networks had been ramping up development, with some dozen pilots ordered in the past year. It is part of a major original expansion. At an upfront press event in New York, CEO John Landgraf said the company will go up from 11 originals to 20 across FX and FXX during the next year. FX Networks’ $750 million acquisition, The Simpsons, will make its debut on FXX in August with 12-day marathon. “It will be the longest continuous marathon in the history of television,” Landgraf said.
On the renewal front, a formal third-season renewal of The Americans is expected soon, he said. “We look forward to it being on our schedule for quite some time,” he said, later adding that he was “confident in the [show's] long-term prospect.” While the series’ live numbers may have dipped, it has been a DVR growth story. The Americans‘ DVR numbers are “unlike anything I have ever seen,” Landgraf said. “Live viewing is essentially just 20% of whole.”
Landgraf and his team will wait for the seasons of Legit and Chozen to end before making a decision on their future but that would be coming soon. Landgraf also touted the new season of Louie as being “amazing” and upcoming limited series Fargo as being “so good I can’t close the door” on another installment. “If it comes back, it will once again be located in North Dakota or Minnesota but telling a different story with different characters.” However, “the bar is high, it has to be an extraordinarily good story.”
Amazon Studios traditionally doesn’t announce its pilots until they’re fully cast and starting production. That is why it this morning confirmed the first two pilots from its third pilot season — half-hour dramatic comedy The Cosmopolitans, from Whit Stillman, and one-hour drama Hand Of God, from executive producers Marc Forster, Ben Watkins, Ron Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King. Both were greenlighted in January. The Cosmopolitans, about young American expatriates in Paris searching for love and friendship, stars Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny. Hand Of God stars Ron Perlman as a hard-living powerful judge-turned vigilante and co-stars Dana Delany and Garret Dillahunt. Yet to be confirmed are three other Amazon pilots ordered this year, single-camera comedy Red Oaks, executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and executive produced and directed by David Gordon Green, Shaun Cassidy’s drama Hysteria and Samuel Baum’s dramedy Cocked. Here are detailed descriptions and credits for The Cosmopolitans and Hand Of God:
It was a very short stay in primetime graveyard for the Queen Latifah-produced Single Ladies. A month after the hourlong scripted series was cancelled by VH1 after three seasons, it has been picked up by BET Networks’ Centric. The 24-hour music and entertainment network, which targets African-American women, has inked a production deal with Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere’s Flavor Unit Entertainment, which produces Let’s Stay Together for BET. Under the pact, Centric has ordered a fourth season of Single Ladies. The hourlong romantic comedy series, set in the world of Atlanta fashion, music, and celebrity, is still airing its third season on VH1, with the upcoming May 24 season finale no longer serving as a series ender.